As part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed in March 2021, $200 million has been allocated for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) while billions more are available for academic, school, and public library programs. In fact, over $7 billion alone is available for broadband services and digital devices.
To help you be prepared to advocate for your library, the ALA recently published a state guide giving you more detailed guidance on how to set your library up to get a portion of the state-allocated funding provided in the ARPA.
Advocate for Your Library Funding NOW
First and foremost, ALA stresses the importance of advocating for your library funds now. It's important that you act quickly to ensure that your library does not get overlooked when your school, state, and community begin allocating these relief funds. The ALA guide provides a list of resources you may need in advocating for more funds – whether you run a school, academic, or public library. You can also read tips from district librarians on how best to use JLG resources to justify increased budget dollars from your admins.
Resources for Public Librarians
Use these resources to help you advocate for ARPA funding:
- ALA provided a template letter/email for state and/or local officials to help you explain why alloting relief funding to your library will benefit the entire community.
- The U.S. Department of the Treasury provides an online list of state and local COVID-19 fiscal recovery plans, including updated pre-award requirements to any entity that wishes to receive direct payments of funds.
- View an estimated amount of funds being allocated locally through the National League of Cities or even view a searchable summary of provisions relevant to municipalities and localities.
- The National Association of Counties provided a legislative analysis for counties with a breakdown of funding types and database to search for funding amounts reaching your county which you can view here.
- The National Summer Learning Association also published resources discussing what ARPA means for summer and afterschool programs, which could impact your library.
Resources for School Librarians
In addition to the tips and resources discussed in our last blog, school librarians can use these resources to help advocate for ARPA funding.
- Use this ALA-provided breakdown of how historic and impactful ARPA funds can be for school libraries to help position your library's need for relief funding with your admins.
- ALA even provided an op-ed template/sample you can quickly edit and submit to your local paper or even school newsletter advocating for the crucial role libraries have played and will continue to play in helping students get back on track.
- You could also use this sample letter for admins, elevator pitch and talking points, or this sample letter for education boards to explain why allocating ARPA funds to the library is crucial for your students.
- The Office of Elementary & Secondary Education provided a list of resources from sample letters to applications and announcements you can use to plan your funding advocacy approach.
- View this allocation information provided by the Department of Education to learn more about how much funding your school could get.
Your library matters to your community and your students. Fostering a better future for your library and your readers starts with funding, and we want to help you get the relief you need this year.